Earl Zwingle, called the University of Tennessee’s “most loyal alumnus” and known for his signature UT Torch neckties, died Saturday in San Francisco. He was 93.
Zwingle, a 1931 graduate of UT, attended every UT-Alabama football game at Neyland Stadium from 1945 to 2000. Illness prevented him from attending last year’s Alabama game.
Services are scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 23 in Burlingame, Calif. He leaves two sons.
“Earl was a gentleman in every sense of the word,” Jack Williams, UT vice president for development and alumni affairs, said Tuesday. “Because of his love for and contributions to his alma mater, many people thought of Earl as UT’s most loyal alumnus.”
He was presented UT’s Volunteer of the Year award in 1991. It is the university’s highest volunteer award. Zwingle also co-founded a UT alumni chapter in San Francisco in 1960.
Zwingle was in the millinery business in San Francisco for many years. He created and wore a UT Torchbearer necktie and a blazer crest bearing the University seal, copies of which he sold to alumni and friends around the world. It is best known for being worn by President Ronald Reagan when he reopened the refurbished Statue of Liberty in 1986.
Proceeds from sale of the ties and from gifts by Zwingle were used to establish the Vic Davis Scholarships, honoring UT’s first alumni secretary. The fund, later named for Davis and Zwingle, provides awards to outstanding UT seniors.
Memorial gifts to the Davis-Zwingle fund can be made by contacting the UT Development Office, 865-974-2115.